Volleyball aims to keep winning streak alive

Sean Hastings, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Eastern volleyball team has a chance to start Ohio Valley Conference play 4-0 for the first time in over eight years.

The Panthers are off to a great start this year winning 9 out of 10 sets they have played giving them a 3-0 record.

Eastern defeated Southern Illinois- Edwardsville Wednesday night to get their third win of the season.

The Panthers will travel to Belmont on Saturday looking to get their fourth win of the season.

Belmont has also had a strong start as they have posted a 2-1 record defeating Eastern Kentucky, 2-1, and Morehead State, 1-2. Belmont also lost to Tennessee State who is 1-2 on the year.

After winning their first three matches of OVC play, the Panthers have a lot of confidence and are ready to face Belmont.

“We celebrated the win against SIUE, and now it’s time to get ready for Belmont,” coach Sam Wolinski said. “The focus goes on them.”

Belmont has a ‘potent’ outside, which is nothing new for the Panthers as the first three teams also had strong outsides.

Their setter is also very offensive minded, so she is going to look to attack, something the Panthers will have to be ready for, according to Wolinski.

Although the Panthers are 3-0, they know they can still be a better team.

“I think what was great about (Wednesday night) is that it was a gut check win,” Wolinski said. “We weren’t necessarily playing at our level or the level we expect of ourselves but we figured out how to win the match and I think that’s huge.”

The Panthers will want to have better consistency in the match with Belmont and be able to push a fast tempo.

Eastern’s success has been coming from everyone who comes on the court. Each player makes an impact on the game especially with contributing to getting kills.

The Panthers usually have five targets that they go to and will continue to be a big part of their game against Belmont.

Having that many targets, teams are not able to stop all of them so Wolinski believes that Belmont might just try to get someone off their game.

“I think it’s a big advantage and it’s something they have to worry about,” Wolinski said. “But I think they’re intentional about their game plan as to how they’re going to try and maybe get somebody out of their rhythm.”

That was the case for sophomore Maria Brown Wednesday, but Wolinski believes she handled it well and was able to earn points and digs for the Panthers.

The Panthers’ confidence level is high right now, and they know if they can stick to their game plan, get to the level they expect of themselves and get ‘one percent better every hit’ they can continue to be successful on the court.

The match is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Saturday in Belmont, Tenn.

 

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]